Sport

Ciesiolka pumped for Kiwis in Trans-Tasman series

Shenae Ciesiolka will make her Australian touch football debut in the Trans-Tasman Series against New Zealand next month.
Shenae Ciesiolka will make her Australian touch football debut in the Trans-Tasman Series against New Zealand next month. Bev Lacey

SHENAE Ciesiolka says she's not quite sure what to expect ahead of her Australian touch football debut.

But after enjoying a hugely successful season in 2012, the 15-year-old is ready for anything.

Ciesiolka will line up in the under-18 Australian women's team for the three-game Trans-Tasman Series against New Zealand in Auckland from February 5.

It won't be her first time playing in New Zealand but Ciesiolka said representing Australia would be a much tougher challenge.

"I'm pretty nervous to be honest, especially playing in New Zealand," she said.

"It's a bit different over there, stepping on to their soil.

"I've been to New Zealand twice already to play touch ... but that has only been for Queensland.

"This time it's for Australia so it's a higher level, more intense."

This year will be the biggest trans-Tasman touch battle with the two sides to play off across 12 men's and women's divisions.

The pressure will be on Australia as the defending champions and it will be up to the youth divisions to get the campaign off to a winning start.

But Ciesiolka is no stranger to high pressure situations.

She scored the match-winning touchdown in a drop-off as Toowoomba won the Brisbane division one competition last year.

And she was also a member of the South West Queensland Swans team which triumphed at the state championships.

Ciesiolka said that experience had been a huge help in preparing her to play for Australia.

"I've been pretty successful with the older teams," she said.

"The girls I play with just give you a lot more experience and they help you around the field and direct you where to go.

"I'm the only (Darling Downs) player that's in the under-18s but Emilee Cherry is in the opens. She helps me out a lot."

The Aussie teams had a training camp in Sydney last week when all the players were presented with their green and gold jerseys.

Ciesiolka has had few opportunities to train with the rest of the team and has had to keep herself motivated with her own sprint training and ball work.

But she was confident all that hard work would pay off when she steps out on to the field for Australia.

"I think we've got a pretty strong team," Ciesiolka said.

"We've got a lot of speed which is good. I think we have a pretty good chance of winning."
 



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